Erdem Gunduz – dubbed ‘standing man’ – stages eight-hour vigil and is joined by 300 people during silent protest
Erdem Gunduz stands in Taksim Square during a ‘duranadam’, or standing man protest, in Istanbul. Photograph: Vassil Donev/EPA
A Turkish man has staged an eight-hour silent vigil in Istanbul’s Taksim Square, the scene of violent clashes between police and anti-government protesters in recent weeks, inspiring hundreds of others to follow his lead.
Erdem Gunduz said he wanted to take a stand against police stopping demonstrations near the square, the Dogan news agency reported.
He stood silently, facing the Ataturk Cultural Centre which was draped in Turkish flags and a portrait of Turkey‘s founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, from 6pm on Monday.
By 2am on Tuesday, when the police moved in, about 300 people had joined him. Ten people, who refused to be moved on by police, were detained.
Gunduz, swiftly dubbed “standing man” on social media in Turkey, inspired similar protests elsewhere in Istanbul, as well as in the capital, Ankara, and the city of Izmir on the Aegean coast.
The silent protests were in stark contrast to demonstrations at the weekend, which saw some of the fiercest clashes so far when police fired teargas and water cannons to clear thousands from Taksim Square.
What began in May as a protest by environmentalists upset over plans to build on a park adjoining Taksim Square has grown into a movement against the prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, presenting the greatest public challenge to his 10-year leadership.
Turkish Doctors Union (TTB) released a statement, saying that at least 4 people lost their lives and 7,822 protestors were injured in Gezi Park demonstration in 13 cities across Turkey.
The union said the statement included all police violence-related injuries until June 17 at 6 pm local time.
TTB said public hospitals, private hospitals and volunteer infirmaries that station in approximate with hot clash zones admitted 7,882 patients.
“The majority of injuries were due to pepper gas-related burnt and respiratory complications; injuries related to canister hits, plastic bullets and muscle-skeleton system traumas (soft tissues injuries, cuts, burns, broken bones); head traumas; eyesight problems extending to vision loses due to use of plastic bullets; and internal organ injuries.
According to the statement 4 people lost their lives: Mehmet Ayvalıtaş (Istanbul), Abdullah Cömert (Antakya), Mustafa Sarı (polis officer, Adana), Ethem Sarısülük (Ankara).
The statement cited 59 to be in serious condition. The city distribution of those with life-threatening condition is as follows: Istanbul (4), Ankara (1), Eskişehir (1). 100 people suffered from head trauma and 11 lost eyesight, and 1 lost spleen, the statement said.
Turkish Doctors Union (TTB) released a statement, saying that at least 7,822 people were injured with 59 in serious condition. 4 protestors lost their lives and 11 lost eyesight, TTB said.
Turkish Doctors Union released the distribution of casualties according to cities as follows:
Istanbul: 4,477 injured. 21 gravely wounded. 1 dead. 4 still in critical condition. 6 lost eyesight. 6 suffered head trauma.
Ankara: 1,350 injured. 21 gravely wounded. 7 head traumas. 1 dead. 4 lost eyesight.
Izmir: 800 injured with 2 in critical condition.
Antakya: 161 injured with 3 in critical condition. 1 dead.
Adana: 162 injured with 6 in serious condition. 1 dead. 5 head traumas.
Eskişehir: 300 injured with 3 in serious condition. 2 still ICU.
Muğla: 50 injured with 1 serious condition.
Mersin: 17 injured with 1 in serious condition.
Bursa: 1 head trauma, 2 injured.
Balıkesir: 155 injured.
Kocaeli: 10 injured.
Antalya: 150 injured including 1 in serious condition.
Rize: 8 injured. (AS/BM)